What is art? What counts as an aesthetic experience? Does art have to beautiful? Can one reasonably dispute about taste? What is the relation between aesthetic and moral evaluations? How to interpret a work of art? Can we learn anything from literature, film or opera? What is sentimentality? What is irony? How to think philosophically about architecture, dance, or sculpture? What makes something a great portrait? Is music representational or abstract? Why do we feel terrified when we watch a horror (...) movie even though we know it to be fictional? -/- In Conversations on Art and Aesthetics, Hans Maes discusses these and other key questions in aesthetics with ten world-leading philosophers of art: Noël Carroll, Gregory Currie, Arthur Danto, Cynthia Freeland, Paul Guyer, Carolyn Korsmeyer, Jerrold Levinson, Jenefer Robinson, Roger Scruton, and Kendall Walton. -/- The exchanges are direct, open, and sharp, and give a clear account of these thinkers' core ideas and intellectual development. They also offer new insights into, and a deeper understanding of, contemporary issues in the philosophy of art. (shrink)
Wanneer ben je sexy, en wie bepaalt dat eigenlijk? Gelden dezelfde normen voor mannen en vrouwen? En hoe moeten we als maatschappij omgaan met de toenemende druk om er hot uit te zien? In dit boek zoekt filosoof Hans Maes een antwoord op deze vragen. Onderweg reflecteert hij over sekssymbolen, over de erotiserende werking van macht en rijkdom, en over de rol van kunst. Hij buigt zich over de notie van seksuele authenticiteit en lanceert ten slotte ook een oproep (...) voor betere pornografie. (shrink)
This paper presents a close analysis of Steve Pyke’s famous series of portraits of philosophers. By comparing his photographs to other well-known series of portraits and to other portraits of philosophers we will seek a better understanding of the distinctiveness and fittingness of Pyke’s project. With brief nods to Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard, G.W.F. Hegel, and Arthur Schopenhauer and an extensive critical investigation of Cynthia Freeland’s ideas on portraiture in general and her reading of Steve Pyke’s portraits in particular, this (...) paper will also aim to make a contribution to the philosophical debate on portraiture. (shrink)
All too often women are considered sexy in accordance with an externally dictated and unduly narrow conception of sexiness – one that excludes large portions of the female population from being considered sexy. In response to this, some feminists have suggested that we should give up on sexiness altogether. Since the agency, subjectivity, and autonomy of a woman being judged sexy is generally ignored, they argue, we have, in effect, an equation of sexiness with objecthood. In a recent essay entitled (...) “Sex Objects and Sexy Subjects” Sheila Lintott and Sherri Irvin object to this strategy because they see sexuality as a crucial element of selfhood – something that one cannot simply ‘give up on’. Instead, they propose to reclaim and redefine sexiness in such a way that makes room for women as sexy subjects desiring and pursuing authentic pleasure. In this short paper, I will investigate the merits and shortcomings of their proposal and present an alternative account. (shrink)
Caffeine makes you sexy! This absurd slogan can be seen in the shop windows of a popular Brussels coffee chain – its bold pink lettering indicating how they are mainly targeting female customers. It is one of the silliest examples of something that is both very common and very worrisome nowadays, namely, the constant call on women to look ‘hot’ and conform to the standards of sexiness as they are projected in the media, entertainment industry, and advertising. But what exactly (...) is wrong with this state of affairs and what can be done about it? In a recent essay Sheila Lintott and Sherri Irvin take up this issue and make an elaborate case for what they call a ‘feminist reclamation’ of sexiness. This chapter investigates the merits and shortcomings of their proposal, presents an alternative account, and considers how pornography may be part of the problem but also part of the solution in this matter. (shrink)
In May 2017, my book ‘Conversations on Art and Aesthetics’ appeared. It contains conversations with, and photographic portraits of, ten prominent philosophers of art. They are Noël Carroll, Gregory Currie, Arthur Danto, Cynthia Freeland, Paul Guyer, Carolyn Korsmeyer, Jerrold Levinson, Jenefer Robinson, Roger Scruton, and Kendall Walton. The book has two main aims. One is to provide a broad and accessible overview of what aesthetics as a subfield of philosophy has to offer. The other is to stimulate new work in (...) this area of research. In this brief paper I’d like to say a bit more about this second objective. Current research is rarely conducted or communicated in the form of conversations, so the question arises: how can a book like mine fit with and feed into a research culture which is very much dominated by the format of the journal article? (shrink)
In this paper, we aim to show that there is a particular kind of bullshit that is not dealt with in Harry Frankfurt’s and G.A. Cohen’s critiques of bullshit. We also point out the evaluative complexity of bullshit. Frankfurt and Cohen both stress its negative and possibly destructive aspects, but one might wonder whether bullshit need always and necessarily be reprehensible. We will argue that there are positive or at least neutral aspects to some kinds of bullshit.
We report on two experiments investigating the effect of an increased cognitive load for speakers on the choice of referring expressions. Speakers produced story continuations to addressees, in which they referred to characters that were either salient or non-salient in the discourse. In Experiment 1, referents that were salient for the speaker were non-salient for the addressee, and vice versa. In Experiment 2, all discourse information was shared between speaker and addressee. Cognitive load was manipulated by the presence or absence (...) of a secondary task for the speaker. The results show that speakers under load are more likely to produce pronouns, at least when referring to less salient referents. We take this finding as evidence that speakers under load have more difficulties taking discourse salience into account, resulting in the use of expressions that are more economical for themselves. (shrink)
In 1984, Arthur Danto wrote an article with the telling title ‘The End of Art.’ Just a few years earlier, Richard Rorty had declared the end of philosophy and Michel Foucault, the end of politics. A few years later, Francis Fukuyama was to declare the end of history. So, on the face of it, Danto’s thesis fits in nicely with the ‘endism’ that was popular in the 1980s. In important ways, however, I believe it also stands out.
Jerrold Levinson conveniently summarizes the main argument of his essay "Erotic Art and Pornographic Pictures" in the following way:Erotic art consists of images centrally aimed at a certain sort of reception R1.Pornography consists of images centrally aimed at a certain sort of reception R2.R1 essentially involves attention to form/vehicle/medium/manner, and so entails treating images as in part opaque.R2 essentially excludes attention to form/vehicle/medium/manner, and so entails treating images as wholly transparent.R1 and R2 are incompatible.Hence, nothing can be both erotic art (...) and pornography; or at the least, nothing can be coherently projected as both erotic art and pornography.1I have argued elsewhere .. (shrink)
What I will aim for in answering the title question is extensional adequacy, that is, I will try to formulate an account that captures as much of the extension as possible of what we ordinarily think counts as a portrait. Two philosophers have recently and independently from one another embarked on the same project. Cynthia Freeland’s theory of portraiture, as it is developed in her book, Portraits and Persons, is discussed in Sections 1 and 2 of this paper. Sections 3 (...) and 4 offer a critical exploration of Paolo Spinicci’s phenomenological study of portraiture. Finally, in Sections 5 and 6, I present an alternative account of portraiture, one that will hopefully address all the objections raised against the two competing theories. (shrink)
In ‘The End of Art: A Real Problem or Not Really a Problem?’ I raised some questions about Arthur Danto’s famous ‘end of art’ thesis. A largely polemical paper, it was intended as an invitation to further discussion, and Kalle Puolakka has now taken up this invitation in ‘Playing The Game After The End of Art’. I thank him for his many insightful remarks. Critical comments are typically more interesting and helpful than simple praise, and Puolakka’s comments are no exception. (...) I would therefore like to return the favour. I will place Puolakka’s remarks under critical examination and in the process hope to rephrase, refine, and defend some of my original claims. First, however, I will briefly restate my reading of Danto’s ideas on the end of art. (shrink)
This paper provides an in-depth review of Jerrold Levinson’s most recent work in aesthetics, focusing especially on his account of the incompatibility of art and pornography. The author argues that this account does not fit well with Levinson’s own intentional-historical definition of art and his Wollheimian account of depiction.
Numerous philosophers have tried to define modesty, but none of them succeeds in articulating the necessary and sufficient conditions for this virtue. Moreover, all existing accounts ignore the striking self-other asymmetry that is at the heart of modesty. Drawing on the analogy with the practice of giving presents, I clarify and further investigate this self-other asymmetry. In the process, I show why Bernard Williams is right in pointing out the notorious truth that a modest person does not act under the (...) title of modesty and why Alan Bennett is wrong in supposing that all modesty is false modesty. (shrink)
This paper addresses what is arguably ?? one of the most fundamental questions in the debate on depiction, What is a Picture? It offers a critical discussion of traditional theories of pictorial representation, such as the Resemblance Theory, Conventionalism, and the Illusion Theory; it introduces and analyses the crucial notions of ‘seeing as’ and ‘seeing in’, and concludes by presenting some of the most recent accounts of depiction defended by Kendall Walton, Dominic Lopes, Robert Hopkins, and John Hyman.
Art and pornography are often thought to be mutually exclusive. The present article argues that this popular view is without adequate support. Section 1 looks at some of the classic ways of drawing the distinction between these two domains of representation. In Section 2, it is argued that the classic dichotomies may help to illuminate the differences between certain prototypical instances of pornography and art, but will not serve to justify the claim that pornography and art are fundamentally incompatible. Section (...) 3 considers those definitions of pornography that make an a priori distinction between pornographic and artistic representations. The difference between the ‘merely’ erotic and the pornographic is also discussed in this context. Section 4 provides a critical assessment of the most recent and elaborate arguments against the compatibility of pornography and art. Finally, in Section 5, a case is made for the existence of pornographic art, as a subcategory of erotic art. (shrink)
People mentally represent the shapes of objects. For instance, the mental representation of an eagle is different when one thinks about a flying or resting eagle. This study examined the role of shape in mental representations of similes (i.e., metaphoric comparisons). We tested the prediction that when people process a simile they will mentally represent the entities of the comparison as having a similar shape. We conducted two experiments in which participants read sentences that either did (experimental sentences) or did (...) not (control sentences) invite comparing two entities. For the experimental sentences, the ground of the comparison was explicit in Experiment 1 (“X has the ability to Z, just like Y”) and implicit in Experiment 2 (“X is like Y”). After having read the sentence, participants were presented with line drawings of the two objects, which were either similarly or dissimilarly shaped. They judged whether both objects were mentioned in the preceding sentence. For the experimental sentences, recognition latencies were shorter for similarly shaped objects than for dissimilarly shaped objects. For the control sentences, we did not find such an effect of similarity in shape. These findings suggest that a perceptual symbol of shape is activated when processing similes. (shrink)
The role of the artist's intention in the interpretation of art has been the topic of a lively and ongoing discussion in analytic aesthetics. First, I sketch the current state of this debate, focusing especially on two competing views: actual and hypothetical intentionalism. Secondly, I discuss the search for a suitable test case, that is, a work of art that is interpreted differently by actual and hypothetical intentionalists, with only one of these interpretations being plausible. Many examples from many different (...) art forms have been considered in this respect, but none of these test cases has proved convincing. Thirdly, I introduce two new test cases taken from contemporary visual art. I explain why these examples are better suited as test cases and how they lend support to the actual intentionalist position. (shrink)
Art and Pornography presents a series of essays which investigate the artistic status and aesthetic dimension of pornographic pictures, films, and literature, and explores the distinction, if there is any, between pornography and erotic art. Is there any overlap between art and pornography, or are the two mutually exclusive? If they are, why is that? If they are not, how might we characterize pornographic art or artistic pornography, and how might pornographic art be distinguished, if at all, from erotic art? (...) Can there be aesthetic experience of pornography? What are some of the psychological, social, and political consequences of the creation and appreciation of erotic art or artistic pornography? This book will contribute to a more accurate and subtle understanding of the many representations that incorporate explicit sexual imagery and themes. It is sure to stir debate, and healthy controversy. (shrink)
Paisley Livingston claims that an artist’s intentions are successfully realized and hence determinate of the meaning of a work if and only if they are compatible and “mesh” with the linguistic and conventional meanings of the text or artefact taken in its target or intended context. I argue that this specific standard of success is not without its difficulties. First, I show how an artist’s intention can sometimes be constitutive of a work’s meaning even if there is no significant meshing (...) between the artist’s intention and his work. Second, I argue against the claim that the artist’s intentions need to be compatible with the linguistic and conventional meanings of a text. Third, I discuss a case that creates a particular puzzle for Livingston since the intentions of the artist concerned are clearly not successfully realized, though they are compatible and mesh with all the relevant data. I conclude my paper by suggesting a solution to this puzzle. (shrink)
In a national survey, members of 4As agencies were contrasted with non-member agencies to determine awareness and influence of the 4As Standards of Practice, the Professional Code of Ethics for 4As members. The 4As Code was selected because the 4As represents the principle professional association of the support service industry, advertising.
This paper provides a concise description and discussion of bottom–up and top–down approaches to misattribution of agency in schizophrenia. It explores if first-person accounts of passivity phenomena can provide support for one of these approaches. The focus is on excerpts in which the writers specifically examine their experiences of external influence. None of the accounts provides arguments that fit easily with only one of the possible approaches, which is in line with current attempts to theoretical integration.
According to Stephen Davies, there is no such thing as free beauty. Using actual and imaginary examples, he tries to show that our aesthetic evaluations of objects inevitably pay heed to the kinds to which they belong or in which we judge them to belong. His examples are not as compelling as he thinks, however. Furthermore, nature looked at through a microscope (or a telescope) provides us with a particular class of counter-examples which have not been dealt with by Davies (...) and which put considerable pressure on his account. (shrink)
Steels & Belpaeme (S&B) are clearly interested in the possible test their models may provide for human language theories. However, they only superficially address the assumptions underlying their own agent architecture, while these are of crucial relevance to the topic of human language. These assumptions fit an Augustinian picture of language, which Wittgenstein challenges in his Philosophical Investigations. It is too early to draw conclusions regarding human language evolution from such models.
What is erotic art? Do all paintings with a sexual theme qualify as erotic? How to distinguish between erotica and erotic art? In what way are aesthetic experiences related to, or different from, erotic experiences and are they at all compatible? Both people and works of art can be sensually appealing, but is the beauty in each case substantially the same? How helpful is the distinction between the nude and the naked? Can we draw a strict line between erotic art (...) and pornography? We tend to think of art as complex and of pornography as one-dimensional, but how compelling is that differentiation? Pornography is often considered harmful, objectifying, and exploitative, but to what extent is erotic art immune to moral criticism of this sort? In addressing such questions this entry will provide an overview of current philosophical debates on erotic art. It will also place those debates in historical perspective and, in the closing section, explore some important avenues for future research. (shrink)
When people comprehend language, they mentally represent object shape. Previous research has shown that objects that are mentioned in a simile construction are represented as similarly shaped. The present study examined object shape in mental representations of negated similes. In our experiment participants read negated similes or control sentences without a comparison structure. After having read the sentence, they judged whether two presented objects, which were either similarly or dissimilarly shaped, were previously mentioned. Our findings showed that for the negated (...) similes, verification latencies were shorter for similarly shaped than for dissimilarly shaped objects. This shows that the expected situation, rather than the actual situation is represented. For the control sentences, we did not find such an effect of similarity in shape. We discuss our findings in the light of processing theories of negation and comparison. (shrink)
This article describes three production experiments in which the role of the ontology of referents is investigated with respect to establishing and maintaining local coherence in discourse. The experiments claborate on the basic claims put forward by Centering Theory. Subjects were asked to complete sentences or fill in the most adequate anaphoric device in two– or three– sentence sequences in which concrete and abstract referents were manipulated along the lines of variables which in centering theory are claimed to determine the (...) type of center transition and hence the accessibility of referents. The distribution of different types of anaphoric expressions indicated that-all other things being equal—abstract referents require more ‘referential force’ than concrete referents, which is claimed to be due to their being less accessible by their very nature. Furthermore, demonstrative nominal and demonstrative pronominal anaphors appeared to function quite differently in expressing differences in transition stages of discourse referents. (shrink)